Qualifications from Niger could also be impacted, according to officials.
The degrees from Benin and Togo have been used by Nigerians to acquire jobs or pursue higher education qualifications in Nigeria, depriving those with genuine papers, local media has reported.
The revelations followed in a media investigation in which a reporter managed to obtain fraudulent degree qualifications in two months’ time from universities in the two Francophone African countries, in a widely publicised investigation that caught the attention of the Nigerian public.
During the investigation by the Daily Nigerian newspaper, an undercover reporter managed to obtain a degree for a four-year program from a Benin university in a record two months.
“We are not going to stop at just Benin and Togo”
Nigeria’s federal Minister for Education Tahir Mamman later in an interview announced qualifications from the countries will be subjected to scrutiny and will not automatically be recognised by the country’s accreditation authorities.
“We are not going to stop at just Benin and Togo,” Education minister Tahir Mamman said last week during an interview on Nigeria’s Channels Television channel. “We are going to extend the dragnet to countries like Uganda, Kenya, even Niger here where such institutions have been set up,” he is quoted saying.
It is during the interview that Mamman disclosed that qualifications from Kenya and Uganda would also not be automatically recognised. It is not however clear why degrees from the two countries will be added to the list, or which universities are alleged to have issued fraudulent qualifications.
Also added to the list of shame are degrees acquired from universities in the French-speaking country from the region, Niger.
“We have no sympathy for individuals who knowingly obtain fake degrees”
“We have no sympathy for individuals who knowingly obtain fake degrees, they are not victims but participants in a criminal chain that should be dismantled,” the minister added.
Meanwhile the country has banned 18 foreign universities from operating in the country including five purporting to be from the US, six from the UK and three from Ghana.
The Nigeria University Commission in a statement said that the federal government had not licensed some of the universities, and some had already been shut down. In 2021, government listed 58 fake universities on its website.
“The National Universities Commission wishes to announce to the general public, especially parents and prospective undergraduates, that the under-listed ‘degree mills’ have not been licensed by the Federal government and have therefore been closed down for violating the Education (National Minimum Standards, etc.) Act of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004,” it said a statement.
The list of blacklisted institutions included universities claiming to be from the UK, including Columbus University, Tiu International University, Pebbles University, and London External Studies.